Why Muslims Vote For Le Pen
Why are some Muslims going to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen? There's certainly more than one answer. Le Salon Beige, a pro-Le Pen website, offers some answers. Their article is based on a longer article from Le Point that is now archived and only available for a fee. Though it is not specifically stated, I am assuming the first two families are Muslim.
The building where the Hamdani family lives is in Barbès, right in the heart of the Goutte d'Or neighborhood, in Paris. As is often the case in places like this the young people, often Arabs (rebeus) or blacks (renois), rule the streets...Karim Hamdani, 56 years old, stock person in a large store, father of five, of Algerian origin, naturalized in 1993, distinguishes himself by his unusual political viewpoint: "I've been voting for the Front National since 1995!" So have his wife Zora and his eldest daughter Louisa...He has zealously elaborated his own version of Le Pen's aphorism: "France, you like it, you like it, you like it or you leave it..." He gets pleasure from recalling the name of the man who "had the first Arab deputy voted into parliament, who created the organization SOS Iraqi Children and who has given donations to Africa: Jean-Marie Le Pen".
Abdallah Bourakba, also Algerian, ex-member of the RPR Party (Rassemblement pour la République), has had his FN membership card since 1999, father of 2 children who are "unknown to the police," states his commitment: "In the Front National, I'm not considered as merely a token Arab." He says that Arabs now wish to be addressed as equals, without servile flattery or false compassion. Considering his origins, he feels authorized to speak bluntly, so as to preclude any suspicion of xenophobia: "I'm sick of seeing mosques at every street corner, sick of young girls being targeted by Islamists, sick of being sollicited for arranged marriages..."
Farid Smahi, son of a Tuareg (Muslim nomads from North Africa, primarily Algeria), a member of the political organization of the FN since 1998, is in charge of public relations on behalf of the "banlieus" (suburban ghettoes). Last Ramadan, he toured the ghettoes preaching the word of the Front National: "Frenchmen of foreign background...no longer want this 30-year old policy that consists of putting a soccer ball at their feet or a broom in their hands. They will vote for Le Pen in 2007."
Note: Farid Smahi was the man who accompanied Dieudonné to Le Pen's political convention last week. See my article here.
The Salon Beige summary said nothing about the 2 common enemies of Le Pen and the Muslims: Jews and Americans. This is certainly a factor in their support for Le Pen. But it probably doesn't even have to be stated. Le Pen has clearly promised Muslims jobs and status, i.e. economic empowerment. This is sufficient to induce them to vote for him. The Muslims are well-aware of his animosity toward Israel, Jews and America. How he intends to give thousands, if not millions, of immigrants jobs is unclear. It is no doubt one of those campaign promises that only the targeted voters believe in. As a fervent nationalist Le Pen has also promised jobs to Frenchmen. So, he will have his own work cut out for him.
The words "rebeus" and renois", used in the article, are street slang for Arabs and blacks.
More reminders: If anyone is interested in Tuaregs, they figured in my 2-part article on Charles de Foucauld, who was canonized in Rome last year. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.